a neighborhood street view with two big trees in Stanford, Palo Alto, CA

MLS Stanford, Real Estate in Palo Alto, CA

“Stanford offers its residents quiet solitude and impressive vintage homes situated on expansive, verdant lots.”

The vast neighborhood that makes up the borough of Stanford (MLS #243) is dominated by its Stanford University namesake, with residential areas only a small portion of the overall district. The Stanford neighborhood itself is not actually part of Palo Alto but rather a census-designated area located within the city’s confines.

Stanford’s personality is a mixture of its two closest neighbors, College Terrance and Palo Alto Hills. Dwellings located near campus tend toward the pre-war classic charmers found in College Terrace. Homes in the southern areas are of the sprawling 1960s variety a la Palo Alto Hills. These 3,000 square feet (or more) houses are tucked away on sizable lots, complete with verdant lawns and often hidden from view while 1920 to 1955 cottages line the sidewalk-free lanes of Stanford’s largely rural western sections.

These attractive neighborhoods fall within a limited area encompassed by Campus Drive, Page Mill, Junipero Serra, and Bowdoin Street. Those looking to buy within this borough have to meet one very unique requirement: they must be qualified University faculty and staff. Residents are also listed as co-owners with ”Leland R. Stanford, Jr. University” and are allowed to sell only to those willing to enter into this same arrangement.

With the average home running 3,000 square feet, Stanford dwellings have an average per square foot price of $800, making it one of the biggest ‘bargains’ in Palo Alto.

Those who are able to buy a home in this borough are assured of a quiet calm with classic, well-maintained dwellings and well-educated neighbors with whom they have much in common.

Favorable Attributes
  • Very large borough that is similar in character to College Terrance and Palo Alto Hills
  • Large lots offer peaceful solitude
  • Variety of well maintained vintage homes, many as large as 3,000 square feet
  • Average price of $800 per square foot

History of Stanford, Palo Alto

The neighborhood of Stanford owes its very existence to the University of the same name. This district, like College Terrace and Professorville, was created to serve university students, staff, and faculty, but this demographic also continues to own all of the residential property within its expansive borders.

Stanford was once part of two ranchos that dominated the area, Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito and the enormous Rincon de San Francisquito. In 1868, Leland Stanford bought a large portion of Rincon de San Francisquito from then-owner, San Francisco capitalist George Gordon. Stanford used the land for the creation of his Palo Alto Stock Farm.

Stanford University was born from the tragic death of Leland’s only child, Leland Stanford, Jr. who died of typhoid. Vowing to his wife, Jane, that “the children of California shall be our children”, Stanford built the university in his son’s name. Leland Stanford, Jr. University opened its doors to its first students in 1891. The design of the adjacent city to serve the needs of the campus began soon after, driven by Stanford and his associate, railroad heir Timothy Hopkins.

Sections of the Stanford neighborhood south of Campus Drive sprouted in the 1920s to meet initial demand for permanent and impressive faculty housing. The following forty years saw the borough growing in fits and starts, with modest cottages and cabins dotting untamed plots of land. The southern section of the district didn’t see significant growth until the late 1960s.